10 People Who Died Playing Video Games Causes of Death
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10 People Who Died Playing Video Games

Any video game player worth their salt knows the feeling. Just ONE more level, ONE more achievement, ONE last item before dinner, sleep, or (shudder) some actual human interaction. Four hours later, and you’re still staring blankly at the screen, mouth ajar, hands balled up into an arthritic mass of digits, and any thoughts you once had about tending to your basic human needs are long since forgotten or pushed off indefinitely as you plug along for that never ending quest for virtual fulfillment. It’s easy to forget that our own bodies need as much tending to as our farms or guilds, heck, maybe even more so. Here’s a list of people who died neglecting their real-life health bars for their video game equivalents.

Be sure to check out Ranker's other lists or circulatory system diseases, brain disorders and biopharmaceutical companies.

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  1. 1

    3-Day Gaming Binge Kills Taiwanese Man

    January 21, 2015: Only three weeks into 2015, already two Taiwanese men died from marathon gaming binges. The first was a 38-year-old man who was found dead after playing video games for five days straight in an Internet cafe in Taipei. The second, 32-year-old Hsieh, died from cardiac arrest after playing for three days without stopping. 

    Even worse, workers at the Kaohsiung Internet cafe didn't discover that Hsieh was dead for HOURS. He'd been known to sleep face down on the table during his gaming binges, but when workers found him sprawled out and unresponsive, they finally sent him to the hospital. Authorities believe that cold temps and over-exhaustion were to blame. They noted that none of the other games in the cafe seemed to even notice that one of their own was being carted off, stiff as a board, by paramedics.

    If there's a lesson to be learned (beside "don't play video games for days without stopping to sleep or eat"), it's this: don't get caught in an emergency around gamers. Unless your dying body impedes their ability to play, they'll probably be no help at all.

  2. 2

    40 Hours of Diablo III Proves Fatal

    An 18-year-old Taiwanese gamer named Chuang reportedly died in July of 2012 after a marathon 40-hour "Diablo III" session. And get this, he was at AN INTERNET CAFE at the time. Maybe these places should take a tip from bars and start "cutting off" people who've had enough. "OK, folks, closing time, you don't have to buy a home in 'Animal Crossing' but you can't stay here!"

    Anyway, Chuang was crashed out by a terminal in an Internet cafe when he was awoken by an employee. He then managed to stand up, took a few steps around, and then collapsed. No cause of death was identified at the time, and police were investigating what mind have led to Chuang's untimely demise.

  3. 3

    Jeff Dailey and Peter Burkowski - The First


    The game above is Berzerk.

    The earliest known deaths to have occurred while playing video games are attributed to Jeff Dailey and Peter Burkowski who both expired (they didn't die, they expired) while achieving fantastically high scores on the popular arcade title "Berzerk," by Atari.

    In 1981, Dailey popped a quarter into the robot-killing machine to score an alleged 16,660 points, his personal best. Moments later, he collapsed and was pronounced dead of a heart attack at the tender young age of 19.

    Burkowski died under similar circumstances less than a year later when, after frequenting his local game room "Friar Tuck's" in Calumet City, Illinois for months, he finally pushed himself too far. Shortly after entering his initials on the Berzerk score board for not one but two record high scores, he also fell victim to cardiac arrest.

    Both of these men died in a blaze of glory, and with their literal last ounce of life, they entered scores into machines, dying legends and forever being known as the guys who died not only doing what they love, but perfecting it.

    I'm going to make fun of some of the poor examples of humanity on this list, but these two, these guys started it all. They set the example. And they died right after entering their names into a Top Score list. And that is badass.

  4. 4

    20 Year Old Man Dies While Playing XBox


    The most recent video game related death to date comes in the form of a pulmonary embolism experienced by 20-year-old Chris Staniforth from the United Kingdom.

    Chris frequently participated in 12-hour long Halo sessions without breaks and during one fated campaign, a blood clot traveled from his legs into his lungs, killing him instantly, which is weird because there's plenty of downtime while waiting for the multiplayer maps to connect you to players and load. Especially on Halo. Seriously. Five of those hours were probably spent waiting for Matchmaking to actually find a f*cking game.

    Thankfully, Chris’ father is one of the few parental units that does not blame the games his son loved to indulge in for his unfortunate demise, but wishes to warn others who participate in the sedentary lifestyle to get up and stretch between blowing away your friends online.


  5. 5

    South Korean 33-year Old Man Plays for 650 Hours

    Not to be outdone by the likes of his South Korean counterpart, a 33-year-old man from China kicked the proverbial bucket after a staggering 27 days of continuous online game play. No actual buckets were harmed in the making of this news story.

    Holed up in an even shadier establishment without a business license or any natural lighting, the Chaoyang man (whose name is still unreleased) had reportedly shelled out over 10,000 Chinese Yuan ($1,519.30) during the time before his, let’s be honest, timely death. 650 hours of consecutive gaming.

    Over this period, he barely drank or slept and what little he ingested was in the form of instant ramen noodles. In other words, he lived through what most of us would call a normal college experience.

    You have to hand it to this guy for his level of endurance, if nothing else. Lesser men wouldn’t last a week under similar circumstances. I know I couldn't eat Ramen for more than a few days straight.

    He died of heart failure, malnutrition, etc. Pretty much exactly what you would expect.

    The most important part that they never release in these stories: What level was his character at?!

  6. 6

    26-year-Old Man Spends Holiday Gaming to Death, Teachers Sympathize

    In 2007, a 26-year-old man, surnamed Zhang, from Northeast China, died of heart failure after a week-long marathon of online gaming during a national holiday. Which really, whenever there actually is a national holiday anywhere in the world, before we make our "outside" plans, we, as a society, make our gaming plans. This guy planned his weekend right. He just wasn't really "in the right shape" to do it. Yes, you do need to be "in shape" to marathon game like this. And by "in shape" I mean "have the basic tools to stay alive."

    The binge itself could hardly be blamed for the gamer's death, however, as Zhang had evidently led a full-fledged MMO lifestyle that parodies the "Make Love, Not Warcraft" South Park episode. Weighing over 330 pounds, the Internet addict apparently devoted most of his effort to power-leveling instead of, you know, blood-circulation-friendly activities (going outside, playing a Wii game–c'mon, this was recent enough that he could have done that– or, I don't know, talking to women).

    While not advocating Zhang’s decision-making abilities, a local female middle school teacher did sympathize with his plight, saying, "There are only two options: TV or computer. What else can I do in the holiday as all markets, KTV and cafeterias are shut down?"

    Because clearly, if the cafeteria is closed, kids have no choice but to game themselves to death (???). I knew China was usurping America’s role in the global economy, but they’re taking our laziness, too? God help us all.

  7. 7

    Radio Station Contest to Hold Urine Turns Deadly

    Perhaps the most preventable and unnecessary death on this list goes to Jennifer Strange, who died playing a mere console.

    The 28-year-old wife and mother of three from Sacramento, California willingly participated in a local radio station’s giveaway promotion entitled "Hold Your Wee for a Wii," in which she drank over two gallons of water and refused to urinate in hopes of obtaining a Nintendo Wii.

    This severe lapse of judgment ended in death by water intoxication, and, to my knowledge, no prizes of any kind.

    Jennifer’s death is sobering proof: we need not even be gaming to be enticed by glory, even to the point of death.

    Also, if you have to eat, go to the bathroom, or have a heart condition, for the love of God, go outside. Or at least order a pizza.

  8. 8

    Starcraft Addict Plays for 50 Hours

    South Korean man Lee Seung Seop was an industrial boiler repair man and college graduate before a gripping Starcraft addiction turned deadly in 2005.

    Devoting all of his time to the game, he became malnourished and sleep deprived, costing him his job and long-time relationship with his girlfriend, also an avid gamer.

    Some men would turn to binge drinking or binge coke-doing (that's what you call it, right?). Lee Seung Seop turned to binge-gaming.

    Lee sought refuge from the unfavorable responsibilities of real life in a smoky, poorly lit Internet café, and began a 50-hour gaming binge that would ultimately kill him.

    Lee had reportedly told his friends and relatives he was about to stop playing and return home only moments before he closed his eyes and fell off his chair, being pronounced dead at a nearby hospital shortly thereafter. The final cause of death was heart failure caused by exhaustion and dehydration.

  9. 9

    Wii Fit Does Opposite of What It's Meant To Do

    In sharp contrast to the prior listees, Tim Eves, an enthusiastic and upstanding citizen, died because he was attempting to better himself physically.

    While jogging to the Fit program on the Wii, the 25-year-old scout leader simply slumped to the floor and was pronounced dead before he even made it to the hospital, which, in my opinion, is just a bad attitude. I diagnose those paramedics with a bad attitude.

    While it has been suggested that Tim may have fallen victim to a very rare heart disorder, the fact remains that Tim Eves was a "healthy and fit" individual that had no prior health problems and made his living as a laborer. His Wii Fit age was probably in the early 20's too. I tried measuring mine once. I'm apparently middle-aged.

    Its very possible that enthralled with the video game itself, he may have ignored or not even been aware of any signs that something may have been wrong. A serious heart problem could have been accidentally taken as a "good hurt".

    One can only hope that in while sprinting in place, he beat a record of some kind before collapsing. Like those first guys. Those guys are bosses.

  10. 10

    Gamer Girl Dies Playing XBox

    Fact: Video game deaths aren’t limited to just males in their 20's and 30's.

    Anna-Lee Kehoe, a thirteen-year-old girl, was casually talking, hanging out, and playing with her Xbox 360 before muttering, "Mom, I can’t breathe." She suffered a heart attack so severe that she was left brain dead and on life-support.

    As Sega did with the Dreamcast, Anna-Lee’s parents decided to pull the plug on the machine, making her one of the youngest video game deaths in history.

    Anna-Lee was an asthmatic, and doctors have speculated that an attack the day before may have attributed to her heart attack. However, just like in all the other aforementioned instances, it is unclear whether distractions arising from her game session caused her to neglect any symptoms that she may have been experiencing prior to her attack.

    What is also unclear is if she managed to secure the "Golden Idol" Bullet Storm achievement before her passing. The world may never know.

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